If there’s one thing the foodservice industry loves more than a good cocktail party, it’s a list of trends. Every publication, including FE&S, dedicates space to dissecting current trends and their impact on the foodservice industry. This month, for example, FE&S’ Trend department on page 16 explores the ever-evolving nature of kids’ menus.

Attend any industry-related conference and the agenda often features more of the same but in a live action format.

While trend spotting can be fun, it can also be disorienting. That’s because if business leaders only strive to keep up with trends, they can lose sight of their organizations’ overall goals and objectives, which serve as a company’s roadmap to success. These two attributes answer the question of why an organization does what it does.

Indeed, it’s important to not only understand the trends of the day but what’s driving them and how they relate to your specific business. In other words, placing trends and other factors fueling foodservice performance into the proper perspective helps business leaders set the agendas for themselves and their organizations.

And it’s with that in mind, we at FE&S present the magazine’s six-part series entitled 2020 Vision. Every other month from now through November, FE&S will look at the root causes of several key factors that will shape the face of the industry for years to come. In doing so, the series strives to create a context that helps you better understand not only what’s happening but why.

To execute this series, we partnered with Warren Solochek, principal at Insights to Opportunities Inc. Warren’s name may rightfully be familiar to some of you as he’s no stranger to the foodservice industry. Prior to launching Insights to Opportunities, Warren worked for The NPD Group, holding a variety of leadership roles including president of the company’s foodservice practice as well as senior vice president of industry relations. Throughout the course of his career, Warren built his personal brand by providing companies with insights into business building strategies and, naturally, industry trends. Warren also had the honor of delivering the opening keynote address at Zoomba Group’s inaugural Foodservice Equipment and Design Global Thought Leadership Summit in 2016.

In this first installment of the 2020 Vision series, Warren thoughtfully examines the current state of the restaurant industry. In doing so he explores shifting demographics, rising food and labor costs and how these and other factors shape the use of restaurants both today and tomorrow. To add to the depth of this conversation, longtime contributing editor Tom O’Brien asked five foodservice industry thought leaders to share their industry outlook and what challenges the foodservice community faces moving forward.

Future issues will tackle such topics as technology, the evolving front and back of the house, eco-friendly operations and the restaurant of the future.

Nobody has a crystal ball that sees clearly into the future, but the hope is this series will provide you and your business with enough food for thought to make planning for the future a little easier.